I hope I’m having fun in the sun right now, so here is another guest post for you. Enjoy!
Hi there, friends! I'm Elizabeth, known on the internet as The Young Retiree! My husband and I have been living in Southern California for the last 4 years for his job in the United States Navy. According to Mapquest, it's a 45 hour drive back home- 2,782 miles, $1,537 estimated cost for gas, add on a few overnights in hotels (at least 4 nights), add in eating out for those 4 days plus road trip snackies and we're looking at a pretty penny to get home for the holidays with our pups (and of course, back to our Southern California home)! Eight days of travel there and back- that's a little extravagant! Let's say we fly instead? Round trip we can book on Southwest for $2,047 (then add on tax, possible luggage overage, a delicious airport Starbucks, long term parking or shuttle the hour down to the airport, and other flight expenses!) but that's not including boarding our 3 dogs for the length of time we're gone.
Man, heading home for the holidays can get expensive pretty quickly, huh? With a job in the military some could even say it's a luxury! A luxury we've not been afforded since we moved to Southern California, and a luxury we won't be afforded this year, not to mention my husband has one day off without taking leave- Christmas day! We try our hardest not to let it get us down and I cry randomly throughout the days as I decorate and make our house into a magically decorated Christmas wonderland because, like they say, there's no place like home for the holidays: our home, in Southern California!
I'm willing to bet we're not the only military family who can't make it home for the holidays so I'm sharing some of our tips for making the most of the holidays thousands of miles away from the traditions and family you grew up with! For my husband and I, we moved shortly after our wedding, so we've been making "our traditions" exclusive of our extended family.
ONE: The Weeks Leading To Christmas! We find fun things in our area to do. Google "Holiday events in (insert the name of your town here)" and a whole list will pop up of parades, tree lighting ceremonies, tree farms, Christmas wonderlands, and so much more! Head on out and see them! As far as your house goes: watch silly holiday movies over Danish cookies and cocoa, decorate as a family, and make your house a cozy holiday haven!
TWO: December the 25th! My husband and I have a special Christmas Eve tradition of unwrapping a new Christmas movie, finding snacks in our stockings, making a fire, and settling in for one last night of Christmas magic. By Christmas Eve he's probably so excited to be done watching Hallmark Christmas movies it's the best gift he could ever get! Christmas morning we awake and open gifts, play with the dogs, make a Christmas dinner, and lay about the house in our jammies! Every year.
THREE: The Final Moments of Each Year! Go on out there and celebrate, host a party, or snuggle up waiting for the ball to drop on your tv from Times Square! Look over pictures from the last year, talk about the fun memories you've made, play the top 20 songs from the last year: even without the celebrations from home, you can make the most of the end of the year wherever you are!
Wherever you spend your holidays, I surely hope they're happy! Make the most of the events in your area and the family you're blessed to spend it with no matter how big or small! Merry Christmas, friends!
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Elizabeth can be found blogging all about building a happy marriage and dating her husband, hiking and participating in 5Ks on her weight loss journey, celebrating life and looking for adventure over at The Young Retiree! You can follow her on Instagram and find her on Facebook as well!